Thursday, July 5, 2018

Look up and be dazzled

The fires in California and Oregon have been hungry, violent beasts and I don’t want to see another home, be it human dwelling or wild forest, lost.

I hear the calls demanding sanity and a ban on all fireworks and my heart breaks.

I love fireworks.

The United States of America isn’t very “United” at all right now and that breaks my heart too.  I looks at people I’ve always known as loving, generous, wonderful human beings and I see them ready to accept the most inhuman things because ??? I’m not sure why, but it keeps me from being able to see them the same way again. And again my heart breaks. It’s like I can suddenly understand the brother against brother beliefs that made the civil war possible. And I don’t like knowing that lurks under our surface still.

Then I see the people explaining that the loud fireworks scare their animals, and I know it’s true. I hear the survivors of war zones explaining about their stress and panic and PTSD and I can only imagine how hard that is. I’ve never had to prove I could survive something like that.

I feel for them, and yet I love fireworks. Let me tell you why.

When I was a child, visiting relatives back in Illinois and Pennsylvania, I loved their big front porches with gliders, rockers, swings or davenports.  I loved the neighbors walking by and on seeing someone sitting out there, escaping the swelter of un-air-conditioned homes, stepping up and taking their own seat, to sip lemonade or iced tea and sit a spell. Chatting over big news and random thoughts was a given.

Living in my hometown, there were few porches, but the tradition of “yard-saling” created a similar experience. The random person wandering through, conversations taking a friendly turn about the town as connections were explored, “oh, right, I went to school there too.” As a cook book with both families recipes turns up in a dusty stack.  And, “I remember playing with one of these.” As an old toy was bartered over.

Fireworks displays are like that, on a much larger scale. Political, racial, religious differences are forgotten, and faces turn skyward in anticipation as the sunset grows dim.  Wandering around through throngs of locals and tourists alike, dipping in and out of pools of conversation and music ranging from Johnny Cash to Kendrick Lamar, one follows the connections and topics of surprising friendliness that stops and becomes breathless “ooh and Ah” as the sky ignites. Having never lived through a battle zone, most of us may owe our freedom to soldiers, but find only memories and hopes of friends and family stretching back and forth through generations.

In the heat of the 4th we leave our homes for parades and bbqs and fireworks and share traditions with strangers who share the same traditions from “Sea to Shining Sea” in a way we don’t for the winter holidays when we blanket our families indoors and shut out the cold.

I am sorry, for the frightened pets and people, and I understand the need to be carefully prepared for fire risks, but I hope the right to celebrate together, with big, awe inspiring, shut my mouth wide open and make me forget my cell phone delight, shall never vanish from this land that I love, warts and all.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

summer goals

People can debate back and forth forever  on writer’s block and if it is real, or how to cure it. One group of writers insists that if writing is approached like a job, and one writes every day, even if what they produce is garbage, that that “Shitty first draft” is infinitely better than having produced nothing. At least a bad draft can be improved on and polished. But even polished and fossilized shit is still just shit at the core is the counter argument.

I’m not sure it matters when after months of not writing, I have nothing but a lot of Facebook posts, and if I could have pushed through and written three books in that time is no longer relevant. I didn’t.
What might matter is the future. A school year is ending and the greater freedom of summer beckons with possibility. This year my husband is retiring as a music teacher after 29 years, and transferring to a year round, General ed. teacher at a huge penitentiary. So no family summer vacation plans. If I do as I hope to, I will discover if I am capable still of the drive needed to finish a novel. Yes, I’ve done it four times before, but this one is its own beast. Im not sure yet that I can tame it into submission while spending time digging out twenty years of clutter from the unused rooms of my house to accommodate play space for grandkids, and also playing with those grand grandkids. 

I just hope that when August comes, and a new granddaughter along with it, that I have figured out the many aches and pains of my rheumatoid arthritis and found a happy medium where I can be productive as a writer, and involved as a grandmother. 


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Being an Iron Writer

B Street Pier, Crescent City, CA
 Recently, I have been sick and sad and not writing, but a writer I met at the South Coast Writer's Conference a couple years ago, has started something he calls the Iron Writer's Challenge on facebook.  It seems like it will work for me. The idea is that we are each responsible for setting our own goals in four different areas, and then asking for what we need to help us get to where we want to be.  Its a long path, but we divide where we are going.
 We are supposed to encourage each other in these four areas;
1. Writing,
2. Health,
3. Relationships
4. Finances
 I still most want to finish my Pompeii/Portland blended time tale so that is being broken down into steps, but I also need to find out why I'm aging prematurely and losing the ability to do some pretty basic movements. My family and friends and co-worker area is my strength, so I'm not changing that up, just celebrating. Financially, ugh!!!

So anyway, less facebook time, more talking to Dr.s and more research.  If you are interested in joining us, and can't find the closed group on facebook, let me know. Dixie Dawn Miller Goode

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Goode Man Remembered

 So instead of going to take the great granddaughter to spend Christmas with her Great Grandpa Harvey, we ended up traveling back for a family reunion/funeral/Christmas.  It was one of the most perfectly, joy filled Celebrations of a wonderful life that I have ever attended. To Life, To Harvey Goode, to doing it even half as well as he did.
the five remaining siblings

the following is the obituary my Sister-in-law wrote

originally published in Newcastle Wyoming's Newsletter Journal

Harvey D. Goode, 88, of Newcastle, died Monday December 4, 2017 at Rapid City Regional Hospital.
He was born February 8, 1929 in Olney, Texas to Harvey C. and Effie (Powers) Goode Carter.  He grew up in Texas City, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico helping his father shrimp.  After his father’s death the family moved to Hitchcock, Texas where he graduated from high school.  Harvey was co-captain of the football team.  He worked as a shrimper and mechanic during that time.  He served in the Army during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Germany.
Harvey D.  “left nothing in Texas” and headed to the oil fields of Wyoming.  He met Mimi Ward, the cutest soda jerk at the Newcastle Drug and the rest is history.  They married in June of 1950.  The couple raised six children and had been married for 66 years at the time of Mimi’s death.
Mr. Goode continued working in the patch for many years and drilled in many places.  Harvey and Mimi were fond of telling stories of packing up the babies, tying the crib to the top of the car, and going to the next hole.  They settled in Newcastle with Harvey working at Ward’s Lumber Company, Updike Brothers, and other companies.   He owned and operated The Goode Standard Station on Main St. for several years.  He retired from Western Productions.
Harvey and Mimi were active in Jaycees with Harvey serving as state president.  They were members of bridge club and the Weston County Democrats.  Harvey liked to fish and took his children on many trips to various creeks in the Black Hills.  He enjoyed bowling in leagues, but his passion was cards.  He loved most card games especially Texas Hold Em.  He was a regular participant in Tuesday Prayer Meetings and played at the Old Style #10 until the very end.
Survivors include two daughters, Laura Goode of Lake Powell, Utah and Wendy Goode (John Rindler) of Laramie, Wyo.; three sons, Harvey H. (Francie) of Newcastle, Matthew (Andrea Tuijl) of Tucson, Ariz. and Gregory (Dixie) of Crescent City, Calif.; five grandchildren, Connor and Colton Rindler of Laramie, Austin and Emerson Goode of Crescent City, and Remi Goode-Tuijl of Tucson.  Also four great-grandchildren.  Harvey is preceded in death by his loving wife Mimi; his parents, and two sisters JoAnn Lee and Mary Grisham.  Also preceding Harvey in death is his daughter April Goode (Vince Gillette) and a grandson Cody Raben.
There will be an interment of the cremains at Greenwood Cemetery at 1:00 p.m. on December 21, 2017.  The family requests friends to gather for cake and coffee immediately afterwards at the Weston County Senior Center in the Michaels room.

so close to meeting her great grandpa

I love you, Harvey

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A very Goode Man

I bought Amtrak tickets to go spend a Christmas with my Father in Law, and take his great granddaughter to meet him at last, but last night my husband’s oldest brother was with him as he died from a sudden pneumonia only half an hour after we got the call that he had been taken to the hospital. At nearly 89, Harvey has had a really good life and will be missed so much. It’s definitely one of those, sadder for all the people who will miss him, than for him himself times. He announced last year on the day before Thanksgiving at his wife of 65 years funeral, “I’m only going to live one more year.” And he had a DNR on file and was ready as anyone ever can be. Still, I am grateful for every moment I was lucky enough to be part of his family. RIP Harvey Goode, Feb. 8, 1929 - Dec. 4, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The love of Libraries

Recently I saw a meme that read, "A truly great library contains something in it to offend everybody." There is truth is that of course, but I've also seen studies recently that say that while the Millenials are killing off several traditions that older folks thought would always be with us, they are also saving one that many people would have bet was on its way out.  Libraries.  

Libraries deserve to survive.  They are not just book storage areas, but are community centers, media has made a home there in many forms, but most importantly to me, libraries are the place that still welcomes children.

Chetco Library Storytime includes rounding up the rainbow balls
 We are lucky here to be in close proximity to two county libraries.  One is the Chetco Community Library in Brookings, Oregon and the other is the Del Norte County Library in Crescent City, California.
Del Norte Storytime making Fall wreaths to match the book they just heard

 Stories are read, art is crafted, puzzles are shared, movie showed, characters like Belle pop in to visit, the turtle swims and a big Mummy case stands guard. Beginning computer skills are explored, more stories are read, music is danced to, slime is made, and preschoolers learn to share and listen and dream.

 Many times I have seen High School kids participating in their own art, or doing their homework, while a homeless person gets warm and checks the computer for job postings. Young families give each other advice and share exhausted stories and the noise of the children is welcomed on certain days, while others are reserved for more quiet studies.
 So this month, thinking of what I am thankful for, Libraries topped my list.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer Reading Program

 I should have been writing this summer, but the last book I wrote was still my Redwoods book. Instead of writing, I have been traveling From the OR/CA Border Pacific Coast, to visit family in DC and then we had company visit us here and spent a lot of days playing in the Redwoods, exploring the lighthouse and the sea animals.
 Then I had to rip old, ugly carpeting out of my room, and while doing that, thin out the books crowding my bedroom library. The granddaughter thought I should keep all the books and just not put a bed back in. She assured me her dolly said the floor was comfortable to sleep on.
 but her grandpa assured me a bed was necessary so she was out-voted.
 I did keep the first books I ever wrote
 and I took the granddaughter to arts and crafts at our local library to convince both of us that we don't have to OWN every book to be able to enjoy them.

the books I got rid of
The Virdi Goode reading picnic

But of course I got new books. Three books by R. R. Virdi, with lots of super supernatural encounters, mystery, mayhem and adventure joined my own novels and picture books for a pleasant afternoon under the maple tree.